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Man with green card stuck in immigration lock-up

Many undocumented immigrants throughout the nation dream of obtaining a green card that would allow them to live and work in the United States without fear of being deported due to their status. It is likely that there are some individuals in Miami who can identify with this sentiment. What many may not realize is that the green card does not always prevent a deportation action from occurring.

A native Jamaican, who at the age of 59 has lived in the U.S. for 30 years, is dealing with that situation currently. During the course of the past 30 years, in addition to working as a union carpenter, he raised two daughters. According to the federal government, during that time he was also involved in an attempt to sell drugs. This alleged sale reportedly occurred more than 17 years ago.

Earlier this year the reported incident prompted federal agents to take the man into custody in an attempt to deport him. Since being taken into custody, the man has been kept in mandatory immigration lock-up. During that period of time he has not had a bail hearing. Because overall the man has led what most would consider to be a "clean" life in the U.S., a judge could determine that he should be allowed to keep his green card and not have to deal with deportation.

Recently, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on the man's behalf. The lawsuit is actually a class action lawsuit that is on behalf of not only him, but others in his same situation in the state of New Jersey. The lawsuit alleges the mandatory immigration lock-up violates the constitutional rights of certain green card holders who are locked up. These detained individuals have certain things in common such having been accused of a minor crime that is not actually a deportable offense. In addition, many have a vested interest in remaining in the country and accordingly, are not considered flight risks.

It is not clear how this lawsuit will be resolved or how much longer the man will remain in mandatory immigration lock-up.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Were you aware that under certain circumstances individuals who have secured a green card could be the subject of a deportation proceeding?

Source: The Huffington Post, "ACLU Files Class Action Lawsuit Challenging Mandatory Immigration Lock-Up," Michael Tan, Nov. 15, 2012

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